Every day, security becomes more and more crucial. Cyber attacks are constantly rising and getting more advanced. Plus there’s the rise of remote work. More employees in this decade have been working from home than ever before, and remote work isn’t designed to be highly secure. So there’s high risk and an environment that’s not conducive to tight security. The obvious solution might seem to be to expand your security team or invest in more tools.
But not every organization has the ability to staff a strong security team that’s well equipped to respond to any threat that comes your way. So what options do you have? One option is to utilize a security operations center (SOC). Read on to learn more about what an SOC is, what it can do, and the pros and cons of using one.
What Is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?
What is a security operations center (SOC)? A SOC is a centralized team of security professionals that monitors an organization’s infrastructure 24/7 and responds to any detected threats. A SOC can be something your organization builds in-house and staffs yourself, or it can be a third-party team you work with to protect your networks and devices.
A SOC is in charge of constantly monitoring as well as maintaining the technology and tools that they use to detect and respond to threats. Utilizing a SOC should also align with your organization’s security goals and business objectives.
What Does a SOC Do?
So a SOC is a team of security experts working together that can be in-house or outsourced. But what exactly does a SOC do? Let’s look at some key responsibilities and functions of a security operations center:
- Preventative maintenance. Prevention is a crucial part of security. If something can be prevented, it should be. A SOC can take care of prevention with strong maintenance. The team might patch any vulnerabilities detected before they become a problem. They might run any updates and work through any weak areas before a threat even arises. A SOC runs around the clock, so there’s constant work on prevention.
- Proactive monitoring. Keeping an eye on the networks and devices is another crucial part of security. A 24/7 SOC can monitor an organization’s infrastructure constantly to try and catch any threat that might arise and prevent it from escalating. But a SOC doesn’t just monitor when they think something might be wrong. The goal is to monitor proactively, so the team can catch something early-on before it becomes damaging. Some organizations find it beneficial to outsource an SOC to provide 24/7 monitoring since they’re unable to have constant monitoring in-house.
- Alert management. Alerts can indicate a very real threat that needs to be stopped, but there are also alerts that are false alarms. Not all alerts are of equal importance. A SOC can sift through the alerts, prioritize the most important alerts, and manage the alert logs. The SOC team will then be able to respond to the highest level threats first to concentrate resources on the biggest risks.
- Threat detection. One crucial role of a SOC is to detect threats as they arise, so that the team can stop them. With around-the-clock monitoring and alert management, a SOC is primed to detect threats. A normal security team that clocks out at the end of the work day can’t find threats quite as well, but a SOC works on threat detection 24/7.
- Respond to threats. Once a SOC detects a threat, it’s time to respond and contain the threat. An SOC will investigate an incident and determine the best way to respond to a threat.
- Recovery and remediation. After response, the SOC needs to recover and remediate. They may determine the cause of the threat or attack and put precautions in place to prevent a similar threat from occurring again. The SOC will then move back to prevention.
These are some of the general responsibilities and offerings of a SOC. If your organization hires a SOC, the exact offerings will depend on the provider. Some specialize in certain aspects and may offer those services primarily.
Roles within a SOC
The strength of a Security Operations Center (SOC) lies not just in its advanced technologies, but in the dedicated professionals who breathe life into it. At the heart of every SOC are its diverse roles, each contributing uniquely to the cybersecurity tapestry.
The SOC Manager oversees the entire operation, ensuring that processes run smoothly and that the team is always aligned with the latest security protocols. Security Engineers delve deep into the technicalities, designing and implementing security solutions that fortify an organization’s digital perimeter. Security Analysts, the vigilant sentinels, continuously monitor and evaluate potential threats, ensuring that no anomaly goes unnoticed. The Threat Hunters proactively seek out vulnerabilities, ensuring that defenses are always one step ahead. Lastly, Incident Response Managers are the rapid responders, springing into action the moment a threat is detected, ensuring swift containment and mitigation.
The Pros and Cons of SOCs
As with many security resources, there are pros and cons to using a SOC for your organization’s security needs. Here are some of the advantages and challenges with relying on a SOC.
- Improved security. A SOC provides 24/7 monitoring and is equipped with tools to constantly monitor your network. For most organizations, using a SOC improves security. You will have a team of experts who are dedicated to protecting your organization from a variety of threats and that works to prepare against modern threats.
- Saves time and resources. Many organizations don’t have the time or resources to constantly monitor activity or staff a security team. A SOC (especially an outsourced SOC) can provide the expertise and tools needed to have a robust security response without putting the burden on your organization. It’s a way to save your employees’ time and your organization’s resources while maintaining security.
- Proactive threat detection. Being proactive is key to security, and a SOC provides that better than many other solutions. A SOC helps your organization stay on top of security threats and prevent a large amount of breaches.
Despite the advantages of an SOC, there are some challenges as well that need to be considered
- Shortage of cybersecurity workers. One big challenge with an SOC is that SOC skilled workers are hard to find. There’s a shortage of experts who can staff an SOC and run it well. Staffing your own SOC can be extremely difficult because of that, and you may be limited in what third-party SOCs you can choose (since they will also struggle to staff a full SOC).
- Alert fatigue. There are many alerts that arise with cybersecurity, and that can lead to alert fatigue. If you are outsourcing your SOC needs, you may find your organization suffering from alert fatigue as you hear about many alerts that lead to nothing.
- Lack of customization. When you outsource your security needs to an SOC, other people will be in charge of your security, and you will have little to no oversight. You won’t be able to ensure that your security measures are aligned with your business objectives. You also may have no control over what services you will have because many SOC providers offer certain tiers with little customization.
SOC Security Technologies
In the evolving landscape of cybersecurity, SOC (Security Operations Center) stands as a beacon of resilience and adaptability. Central to its prowess are the advanced technologies it employs. SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) systems, for instance, are the eyes and ears of SOC, continuously monitoring and analyzing data activities across an organization’s infrastructure. They not only detect anomalies but also provide actionable insights for timely interventions.
Complementing SIEM is the power of threat intelligence platforms. These platforms are the brain behind SOC’s proactive approach, offering real-time data on emerging threats, ensuring the organization is always a step ahead of potential security breaches. But what truly sets SOC security technologies apart is their seamless integration capability. They harmoniously intertwine with a myriad of other cybersecurity technologies, creating a cohesive and fortified defense mechanism. At Ontinue, we believe in leveraging these technologies to their fullest potential, ensuring that our clients’ digital realms remain impervious to threats.
Get SOC Security with Ontinue’s Cyber Defense Center
While traditional SOCs offer undeniable value, they often come with inherent challenges. That’s where the Ontinue ION Cyber Defense Center distinguishes itself, going beyond the conventional SOC. By partnering with us, you’re not just getting a service; you’re gaining an entire SecOps team dedicated to ensuring 24/7 security through vigilant, continuous monitoring. But our commitment to your security doesn’t end there. Our approach is all-encompassing, covering the entire security lifecycle from threat hunting to engineering, all backed by our team of dedicated experts. And unlike many organizations that rely solely on AI for threat detection, we harness AI to enhance our defenders. With our solutions, you enjoy all the benefits of an SOC—enhanced security, proactive detection, and efficient monitoring—without any compromises.